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Shabbos Nachamu 5770

Rabbi Siegel

Parshat Vaeschanan

Jul 23, 2010

Parshas Va’Eschanan 5770
(Based on the Sefer Nesivos Shalom of the Slonimer Rebbe, z”l)
Moshe Rabeinu beseeches Hashem. He pleads to be allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel. His prayers go unanswered. He will die and be buried in the desert. Even his bones will not be allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel.
The Aseres HaDibros are repeated.
The Haftorah of this week starts out with the words “Nachamu nachamu ami” – You will be comforted, you will be comforted, my people. It is customary to refer to this Shabbos as Shabbos Nachamu.
Why does Parshas Va’Eschanan always follow the day of Tisha B’Av?
Why are the Aseres HaDibros repeated in their entirety? Wouldn’t it have sufficed to refer to the event of Mattan Torah in an abbreviated fashion?
In what way is the refusal of Moshe Rabeinu’s prayers connected to theme of nechama – comfort, espoused in the Haftorah?
Background/Deeper Understanding
The Tachanun prayer, usually omitted on joyous days of the year is not recited on Tisha B’Av. In Megillas Eichah, Tisha B’Av is called a Mo’ed. The joyous days in the year are also referred to as Mo’adim.
The understanding behind the joy of Tisha B’Av is elusive.
When we find ourselves, going through a dark period in our lives, when we give in to corrupt influences, we tend to feel distant from our Creator. Hashem is not pleased with us. He doesn’t like us and wants nothing to do with us. This leads, of course, to further descent.
The Torah tells us that Hashem created darkness before the light (Vayehi erev vayehi boker). In the very beginnings of the world, the world was filled with four forms of darkness (Tohu, vohu, choshech & tehom). This was shown to Avrohom Avenu during the Covenant of Bein Hab’sarim (Eimah, chasheicha, gedola, nofeles alav). These four forms correspond to the four kingdoms that extinguished the light of Klal Yisroel – Babylonia, Persia & Media, Greece, Rome.
Darkness is an indispensable component of creation.
We are born into a reality of darkness, into a confusing maze, where we cannot trust our physical eyesight. It is the very existence of darkness that brings up within ourselves a natural yearning to pierce the darkness, to see clearly and understand. Illumination is possible only in the presence of darkness.
When one, chas veshalom, sinks to the depths of depravity, he feels disconnected from all that is clean and decent. He finds himself in a dark and dingy place. Every fiber of him cries out for release. It is the existence of the darkness that propels him out of the darkness towards the light.
At the time of Mattan Torah, Har Sinai was enveloped with a cloud of darkness. The posuk says, “U’Moshe nigash el ha’arafel asher sham ha’Elokim” – And Moshe approached the deep darkness, for there was the presence of Elokim. Where is the presence of Hashem? In the depths of darkness!
The repetition of the Aseres HaDibros is not just a relating of an historical event, it is the divrei Torah of the “second chance.”  The first Aseres HaDibros represent serving G-d from amidst the light. The second ones are about finding G-d within the darkness. He is still there, and still wants us and loves us. If we stray from the words of the Holy Torah, if we stumble, we can pick ourselves up, and rededicate ourselves to the Torah from anew, thus rebuilding ourselves, better than before.
It is for this reason that the mitzvah of loving G-d is mentioned for the very first time in this week’s parsha.  He loves us and we love Him. He doesn’t love us because of what we do, but because of who we are. At our very core we are His loyal, loving children.
The seven Shabasos following Tisha B’Av are the Shiva DiNechemta – The Seven of Comfort. Tisha B’Av is a day of darkness and destruction, but it is this very destruction that impels us to connect to G-d in a manner in which we never have before. It is a time to retore Hashem’s malchus (monarchy) over ourselves. It is a fifty day process which begins with Tisha B’Av and culminates with Rosh HaShanah. This is followed by the Ten Days of Repentance , then four days between Yom Kippur and Succos, finally ending with the first day of Succos. These numbers are not random. The letter of the Alef Beis that corresponds to the first = Alef, four = Daled, fifty = Nun, and ten = Yud, spelling out the name of Hashem that represents his mastery over creation.
It is the remaking of ourselves that we find comfort. This is the source of our joy. Hashem comforts us by saying – Nachamu Nachamu ami – Be comforted, be comforted, for you are my nation. Yes, Hashem loves us even when we are bad, because he knows that the darkness is not an integral part of our selves and will only serve to drive us back to His presence.
The prime place for the second set of Aseres HaDibros is precisely following Tisha B’Av. And we must rededicate ourselves to the Torah from afresh, and relearn the Torah in its entirety in a totally new way.
But what of Moshe Rabeinu. He remains, seemingly in the darkness. His shortcoming of smiting the rock instead of speaking to it has entrapped him. There seems to be no hope.
The Medrash tells us that Moshe’s entombment in the desert is a temporary one. When the world is ready and worthy of it, Moshe will arise. In the time of techiyas hamaysim he will come back to this world, along with the entire generation of Bnei Yisroel buried with him in the desert. He will then complete his task and lead even those for whom there was no hope, into the ultimate comfort, the Land of Israel.

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